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Alton-based Simmons firm expands reach in New York, California

From Illinois Business Journal news services

NEW YORK – Alton-based Simmons Hanly Conroy, a national complex litigation firm, says it is expanding its mesothelioma practices in the Northeast and California with the addition of three experienced asbestos litigators.

Edward Braniff joins the firm’s New York office as a shareholder and as Northeast asbestos Litigation Manager. In addition, the firm also welcomes Daniel P. Blouin as a shareholder in New York and Brent Zadorozny as an attorney based in the firm’s El Segundo, Calif., office. The three attorneys all previously practiced law at Weitz & Luxenberg P.C.

Simmons Hanly Conroy says it represents more families impacted by mesothelioma – an aggressive form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure – and files more mesothelioma cases every year than any other law firm in the country.

“We welcome Ed and Daniel to our New York office, where they will spearhead the expansion of our mesothelioma litigation practice in the entire Northeast region,” said Michael J. Angelides, managing shareholder of the firm. “Although we have filed many asbestos-related claims for our clients in areas including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Ed and Daniel will be the firm’s first mesothelioma attorneys based in New York. With decades of experience in asbestos and pharmaceutical products liability litigation, they will add significant depth to our firm.”

“Brent will help us to bolster our services to clients throughout California,” Angelides added. “Brent has more than 25 years of experience as a trial lawyer and an extensive background handling asbestos and mesothelioma matters, as well as non-asbestos injury litigation. “

Simmons Hanly Conroy acquired its New York office in June 2014 through the merger of Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, a national litigation firm with asbestos among its main focus areas, and Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP, a leading national firm in mass tort and complex litigation.

Braniff joins the firm from Weitz & Luxenberg’s New York office, where he most recently focused his practice on Zoloft drug birth defects litigation. He currently serves on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the Zoloft multi-district litigation. Braniff has extensive trial experience representing individuals and families affected by mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. His broad experience also includes pharmaceutical litigation involving Accutane (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease), Actos (bladder cancer and heart failure), Fosamax (femur and hip fractures), Hydroxycut (liver injury and kidney failure), Yaz (cardiovascular injuries), Vioxx (cardiovascular injuries and stroke) and Bextra/Celebrex (cardiovascular injuries), as well as Cochlear ear implant injuries. Previously, Braniff served with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in New York. He earned his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law and holds a bachelor of arts from Bucknell University.

Blouin, who also was most recently with Weitz & Luxenberg in New York, focuses his practice on asbestos litigation on behalf of victims of mesothelioma and lung cancer, and their families. Most notably, in 2013 he obtained a $190 million verdict as compensation for the mesothelioma his clients, who were tradesmen, developed decades after coming into contact with asbestos. The verdict was the largest consolidated asbestos verdict in New York history. In addition, the $60 million that two of the plaintiffs received were among the largest individual sums ever awarded in a New York asbestos case. Blouin holds a law degree from Brooklyn Law School and also has a B.A. from Georgetown University.

Zadorozny joins the firm from Weitz & Luxenberg’s Los Angeles office. He concentrates his practice on asbestos and personal injury cases. His experience includes an $8.7 million asbestos trial verdict in Los Angeles Superior Court, as well as successful arbitration of various matters in non-U.S. jurisdictions including Sweden and the Bahamas. Zadorozny earned his law degree from Seattle University School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Washington State University.

In the area of asbestos and mesothelioma litigation, Simmons Hanly Conroy has an established track record of recovering billions of dollars for exposure victims, including the largest-ever U.S. asbestos verdict ($250 million) for a single plaintiff in the United States, in 2003. The firm also is the leader among law firms for supporting the mesothelioma community, contributing more than $20 million to cancer research, and is a major corporate contributor overall to the cause. Simmons Hanly Conroy helps to fund the Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University and spearheads the annual Miles for Meso 5K race and fun run/walk. In addition, the firm supported efforts to designate Sept. 26 as National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.

About Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC

Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC is one of the nation’s largest mass tort law firms and has recovered more than $5 billion in verdicts and settlements for plaintiffs. Primary areas of litigation include asbestos and mesothelioma, pharmaceutical, consumer protection, environmental and personal injury. The firm’s attorneys have been appointed to leadership in numerous national multidistrict litigations, including Bextra/Celebrex, Yaz and Toyota Unintended Acceleration. The firm also represents small and mid-size corporations, inventors and entrepreneurs in matters involving intellectual property infringement and business litigation. Offices are located in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Alton. Read more at


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